Nokia N900 video: The phone functionality may blow you away
One function that stands out on the Nokia N900 from the previous Nokia Internet Tablet devices is the integrated cellular phone radio and software. I honestly did not expect much from the phone part of the device since the form factor and Maemo software seems more focused on the data network and connectivity. However, as you can see in my video below and in some of my thoughts on using the N900 as a phone it actually is a pretty powerful phone that can easily serve as your main cell phone and data terminal.
When you tap on the Phone application you will see the display automatically switch into portrait mode with color coded call history and two horizontal tabs for Dialing pad and Select contact. I really like the call history where color coded arrows show calls placed, incoming calls, missed calls, and voicemail appear. If you have them on your device, small contact photos appear on the right next to an icon designating which type (home, cell, work) of phone the call was on. You can flick through your phone log or start entering letters to filter them.
Tapping on the Select contact tab takes you to your full contact list where you tap a contact and then have options to place your call via cell, Skype, Google Talk, etc (depends on what accounts you have setup). I used the Nokia N810 Skype application quite a bit when in Spain a couple of years ago and LOVE how well integrated Skype and other VoIP methods are on the N900. Depending on the contact info, you can choose to call cell, work, home, etc. from this pop-up as well.
You can also initiate calls from within the Contacts application by opening a contact and then tapping on the specific number you wish to call. BTW, Skype IM and Google Talk IM are supported right from the Contacts application too. I will cover the Contacts application in another post, but I was pretty amazed by the number of available fields for contact entry and creation on the N900.
If you tap on the Dial pad option then a phone dial pad with large touchable numbers will appear. At the top of the Dial pad is a tab you can tap to designate which type of call you will be making (cellular, Skype, Google Talk, etc.). The Dial pad and Select contact screens can also be used and viewed in landscape mode if you slide the display up after launching the phone application.
You can setup accounts for the following services on the Nokia N900:
- Ovi by Nokia
- Google Talk
I haven’t seen ANY other phone that integrates these services into the native phone application so well and think people may be very impressed with the N900 for this reason.
I should also mention that the N900 has a proximity sensor, just like the iPhone, so when you hold the N900 up to your head the display turns off and then when you pull it away the display turns back on. Also, during a call there are large, easy to touch buttons for speakerphone, mute, phone keypad (so you can walk through menu systems), switch to Bluetooth headset, and end. I haven’t yet discovered how to dial 1-800-FLOWERS from the keyboard, but you can use the standard phone keypad to enter this like on a regular phone.
I have a T-Mobile USA account and have had outstanding phone call quality on the N900 with no dropped calls, fuzziness on the line, or anything in over a week of usage. Simply put, the phone functionality on the N900 may be a dark horse feature that pushes the device over the edge and makes it a must have for the mobile road warrior.